Some key numbers to come out of Sunday night’s win over the Rabbitohs.
Sunday’s victory saw Billy Slater reach 200 wins in his NRL career. That means the superstar fullback joins Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk and three of seven players in rugby league history have reached the incredible milestone. What makes it more remarkable is that the trio have done it with a winning percentage of 69 per cent.
Another completion rate below 80 per cent proved there is still plenty to work on for Melbourne. Their work with the football was brilliant in the first half, completing 17 of 20 sets. However after the break handling errors again crept into their game as Storm completed just 68 per cent of their sets in the second half, finished with an eventual error count of 13. So while the result was pleasing, Craig Bellamy knows his boys need to sure up their ball security ahead of what will be an important middle part of the season.
A crucial minute of the game. With the Rabbitohs in prime field position deep in the Storm half, Adam Reynolds was forced to leave the field to undergo a HIA test. South Sydney failed to capitalise on that set of six and their attack was hindered for the rest of the game, limiting their ability to find a match-turning try.
Dale Finucane put the blowtorch on himself during the week when he said he was disappointed in his current form. After having just seven hit-ups against the Titans, the Storm lock said he was desperate to have more of an impact on games. On Sunday night he delivered on his word. Finucane had 18 hit-ups, 42 tackles and ran for 132 metres. His monster effort saw him play the first 57 minutes of the game, spending just eight minutes on the bench in total. It was the bounce back performance he needed and one that could well put him back in contention for a Blues jersey in 2017.
There is no doubt Storm were going to make defence a priority heading into this game. After conceding 38 points last week, the purple wall responded by restricting South Sydney to their equal lowest score of the season. They had their line broken just once and in the second half, as the Rabbitohs pressed forward, that goal line defence that has been the trade mark of this side in recent years was back to stand tall when it mattered most.